(Note: the wife is doing better today, day 5 after surgery)
The big day! We’re nervous all around. Check in time is 9 AM, we arrive 10 minutes early.
We’re checked in and taken right back to an OP room, number 10, which has its own bathroom. The wife gets briefed about the day and I listen in. She’s given a ‘gown’ to change into. We had heard about these gowns before; they were described as paper but with a warming system. The wife goes into the bathroom and changes, I put her clothes into the bag they’ve given us.
The attending nurse is very nice, attentive, and informative. She sets up the IV , the nurse does a good job; she’s quick, efficient and causes no pain. A slow saline drip is started. The wife is cheerful so far.
But she is starting to get anxious. She’s starting to worry about the anesthesia, she’s never been under before. She’s starting to worry about the tube that will be stuffed down her throat. I ask the nurse about anxiety medicine. She gives me a non-committal answer. I pursue it further, I don’t think she understood, I was asking about these meds for me! The nurse laughs and says if she had any extra she’d be taking them herself.
The anesthesiologist comes in to talk to us. The wife tells him her worries. He doesn’t soft pedal anything, he says of course there are risks, just like riding in an airplane. But the pilot doesn’t come and tell you about the possibilities of crashing. This does nothing to alleviate her worries.
We talk to the nurse some more, we ask her if she knows when we are scheduled. She looks up the schedule on the handy in-room computer. We are the sixth operation on the surgeons schedule, he’s working on his third now. Now the wife is worrying that the surgeon will be tired by the time he gets to her.
The nurse leaves and we wait some more. The wife is getting chilled again. I step out of the room and mention it to another nurse. She asks if we have the blower turned on. I respond with a clever ‘huh?” She comes in and plugs the blower (see upper left in above picture) into the wife’s paper gown. Turns out the gown has bubbles inside that hold the warm air being blown in. The wife comments that the air is cold, we didn’t warm up the blower first. But after a minute she is happy.
The surgeon still his head in a few minutes later to check up on us. He’s very no nonsense and seems to be in a hurry. The wife asks him if he’s tired. He says no, why? She tells him about her worries about so many surgery’s in one day. He gives a short laugh and claims that he’s fine, he feels good. He ducks out. I don’t think this helped much. We talk and I try to tell her that it’s okay. I try to draw an analogy to Grey’s Anatomy, the TV show, one of her favorites. I don’t know if that helped either.
A few more minutes and the surgeons nurse comes in with more drugs. He comments that Dr. L doesn’t usually pass out extra cocktails but this one if for your anxiety. He puts it in through the IV. I ask if he has any extra for me. All I get in response is a short laugh and a quick exit.
Things are speeding up. I hold the wife’s hand and kiss her, we exchange love utterances. The surgical nurse comes back in and prepares to wheel the wife out. More kisses, hand squeezes and face snuggles and she’s out the door. The nurse tells me it shouldn’t be more than a half an hour or so.
I stand alone in OP 10. I’m tired, anxious and there’s no bed to relax on. I wait.
Scheduled 6th… tired doc, gas doc, attendant drug cocktail